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Unique camping
5 examples of extraordinary camp spots in NW
The Pacific Northwest is blessed with  1spectacular locations for camping in nearly every part of the region. Many of the parks have unique qualities and are especially enjoyable because of nearby scenery and recreational opportunities.

Here are five examples of unique camping locations both in Washington and Oregon:

Cape Alava

Cape Alava is a great camping spot if you love spectacular scenery and don't mind sleeping in a tent. No big RV park here -- you hike into this Olympic Peninsula favorite by taking the Cape Alava trail, which is about six miles long.

You start your hike at Lake Ozette. The lake is eight miles long and three miles wide, and is the largest unaltered natural lake in Washington. Before long, your trail becomes a beautiful cedar boardwalk through dense forest of western red cedar and rich peninsula plant life. The trail is relatively flat so it's not a difficult hike -- just a little longer that some casual hikers may be used to.

Once you get to Cape Alava you'll love the roar and smell of the ocean and the fantastic views along the coast. It's an amazing getaway, far from civilization.

Ecola State Park

Wrapping around Tillamook Head, between Seaside and Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park stretches along nine miles of gorgeous Oregon coastline. Visitors to Ecola State park enjoy picnicking, tidepooling, surfing and wildlife observation.

The entrance road meanders through a lush Sitka spruce forest, eventually opening up to a grassy bluff offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

These views really are incredible. Sea stacks punctuate the long sweep of shoreline south, backed by the town of Cannon Beach and ridge of coastal mountains above.

Ecola's trails offer cliff-side viewpoints of secluded coves, forested promontories and even a long abandoned lighthouse. The park'ss network of trails includes an eight- mile segment of the Oregon Coast Trail, and a historical route called the Clatsop Loop Trail.

And the town of Cannon Beach is a fun place to visit -- lots of shops and restaurants and a very artsy feel.

Lake Cushman

Skokomish Park at Lake Cushman is a popular camping spot just west of Hood Canal on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. Residents of Washington have, in fact, voted this on of the best camping spots in the state.

Skokomish Park at Lake Cushman covers over 500 acres with three boat-launch ramps on the 41,500 feet of freshwater shoreline of Lake Cushman. Park facilities include over 100 sites including camp sites, RV pull-thru and back-in site, walk-in campsites and two group camping areas. There is also a great day use area with picnic sites, a picnic shelter, volleyball and three comfort stations located throughout the park.

The natural beauty of the area can be explored on any of our over nine miles of trails that are also mountain bike friendly. This whole region, located at the eastern edge of Olympic National Park, has a lot of great trails, many very close to the park.

Kachess Lake

Kachess Campground is one of the region's easiest parks to find -- it's just a little more than five miles off Interstate 90 as you're traveling between Snoqualmie Pass and Cle Elum. The park is located on the northwest shore of Kachess Lake.

Kachess Campground has 140 campsites Iset in dense old-growth evergreens and surrounded by high mountains. It is an excellent location for family camping and offers a lot of water recreation including water skiing and fishing. There are two boat launches.

Swimming is popular as well and there is an especially beautiful beach with a marked swimming area that gets a lot of use in the summer time. Hikers will find a trail which winds through the campground along the lake and another that follows the lake shore north into the mountains.

Lake Osoyoos

If you like consistently warm, sunny weather, Lake Osoyoos is the place for you.

Located right at the Canadian border, Osoyoos Lake State Veteran's Memorial Park is a 47-acre camping park on a 14-mile-long lake that stretches several miles north into British Columbia.

It's hot and arid in this part of the state, and the park provides welcome respite with its sandy shores, green lawns and shade trees. A war veteran's memorial is located in the park -- some of the land, in fact, was given to the state by the American Legion.

The usual summertime temperatures are between 80 and 90 degrees. The area's average annual rainfall is just 13 inches.

The park has proven especially popular with families and boaters. Osoyoos has two boat ramps and 40 feet of dock. Motorized and non-motorized boating are allowed, along with other water sports.
PHOTOS: The coastal view from Neahkahnie Mountain near Cannon Beach.
PHOTO CREDITS: Photo courtesy Greg Vaughn
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